It’s not a crisis, it’s an opportunity

More often than not, when customers are frustrated about a bad service or bad product experience, they will take to social to vent their experience. In doing so, this allows others to jump on the bandwagon and start chiming in with their equally awful experience.

In many cases a quick, useful and polite response by the disputed brand will ease the frustration and ensure customers continue their relationship with the brand in the future. However, this simple step is often overlooked by the organisation for fear of a crisis.

And herein lies the problem. From experience, and talking to many organisations, there is a sense of fear towards social media and of customers complaining in the open realm of social. It is true that social platforms give power, maybe even favour the customer. However, at the point of making a complaint, a brand still has the power to change the situation and turn it into a positive. And, more importantly, a few complaints do not equal a crisis.

Negativity and complaints are not a crisis, they are an opportunity.  

So that we are all clear, the definition of a crisis is the following:

A critical event or point of decision which, if not handled in an appropriate and timely manner (or if not handled at all), may turn into a disaster or catastrophe.  (Business Dictionary)

In business, it usually has a financial consequence and may require big organisational changes and interventions by senior staff.

Going back to the original point, negativity and complaints are opportunities, not crises. In the short term, complaints in the open space are an opportunity to show others how well and effectively you can deal with problems. However, and more importantly, listening to what frustrates and angers customers is not just a time to provide a solution to an individual problem, it is a chance to analyse the weak spots of a business and improve.

Analysing social data, and looking at what drives negativity is the perfect starting point to drive business changes for the benefit of customers.

On social, customers are fearless in complaining to brands, letting them know how they’ve been let down. Brands should adopt the same fearlessness by strengthening their online customer service, moving customers from frustration to satisfaction, and focussing on the adoption of a social listening mind-set. This will give you the opportunity to analyse what drives negativity, in order to make better business decisions that will ultimately create a better customer experience.

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